OK, how to encourage strawberries to runner is a common question, but I am having the opposite issue, too many runners. I planted a new bed last year, and with first year plants I would generally prefer to allow no runners. As these seemed especially health and nice plants, I though I would allow 1 or 2 from the lager plants and do the normal pinch/cut for the rest. I was trying to do so an a weekly basis, but these plants were out of control. I have plants that last year I cut 50+ runners from and still ended up with 20+ children from. Some even did crown splits into 3-5 plants on top of send out scores of runners.
This is something some would consider a nice problem, but I live with very harsh winters so really want solid plants. I likely lost about 1/3 of my plants to winter kill, I assume in part because too much energy went to reproduction and dividing. I had put in 25 plants each of 3 varieties, and now, even with the losses, I had to transplant about 250 plants to new beds, and have at least that many in the bed where I planted 75. This is after I cut runners all year last year. Now, this year, they are barely leafed out, maybe 10% have started to put on blooms, and I am already cutting new runners.
So, my question, is there a way to discourage runners before I need to pinch/cut? Is this possibly a sign of nutrient imbalance that I need to correct? The issue was most extreme with one of the three varieties, so it seems to be just an especially proficient variety. For good, fresh quality fruit the constant snipping is something that can be lived with, but I have tones of other plants to care for, so I am very open for ideas, so if someone can say, hey give them a does of dandelion pollen extract (just to make something up) and they will back off, I would love to hear such ideas.